The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a childhood-onset trauma symptom induced by an overwhelming confrontation with human evil before the brain can create a functional mind.

When my psychiatrist diagnosed DID in 2009, I was already too symptomatic to work. I had no interest in social media, but I compulsively staged virtual photoshoots in Second Life and posted those photos to my Flickr stream.

‘The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist‘ is an example of the images I staged and posted.

I still feel like a man who doesn’t exist.

With therapy, I  eventually understood that I used my avatars the way a child uses dolls when asked to describe an assault for which there are no words.

Most people are unable to comprehend a person whose different emotional states and memories emerge as separate people with different names, genders, and world views.

It’s easy to dismiss these confusing and unsettling expressions of the mind as attention-seeking irresponsibility.

This short film, ‘Inside,’ is a weirdly accurate illustration of how it feels to be an ‘us’– minus the atmospheric asylum.

A primary goal of psychotherapy is getting everyone ‘inside’ to agree.

I’m not there yet.

M. Scott Peck, the psychiatrist who authored ‘The Road Less Traveled,’ described evil as “militant ignorance.”

I wonder if militant denial is a form of evil.

In “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, ” Peck describes narcissism as a type of evil.

I see no difference between the individual narcissist and the cultist tribal communities that plague American culture.

The most horrific aspect of child abuse is that it often takes place in an institution or a community that doesn’t care or doesn’t want to bother. Hence, the adults blame the child if he reveals the abuse or the abuse becomes too apparent to ignore.

The best recent example of institutional abuse is Donald Trump’s detention camps, where children are separated from their families and treated like criminals.

How does a four-year-old escape the horror of a world that feels like a death trap?

A person with DID was a child whose mind shattered under the stress of life in an all-pervasive culture of evil from which there was no escape.

Recovery from DID and C-PTSD involves a never-ending cycle of accepting the damage, managing the symptoms, and healing what I can.

For me, healing means bearing witness to the evil, naming it, and working for change.

I want us to unite to make our world safe for children.  I want us to protect them from evil.

Children do not choose to live in hunger and pain.

Art by Rob Goldstein

 

According to Peck, an evil person lies to himself to prop up an image of perfection.

They also;

  • Deceive others as a consequence of their lies
  • Project his or her evils and sins onto particular targets (scapegoats) while being reasonable with everyone else.
  • Commonly hates with the pretense of love
  • Abuses political and (emotional) power (“the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion”)
  • Maintains respectability based on lies.
  • Is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterized not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency (of destructiveness)
  • Is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoat)
  • Has a covert intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury
  • According to Peck, evil people realize the wickedness deep within themselves, but are unable to tolerate the pain of introspection, or admit to themselves that they are evil.

Evil thrives on denial.

 

I’m revising some of my posts from 2015.

‘The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist’ was first posted in 2015,

I’ve kept the theme but completely revised the post.

I don’t know if I should make a new post but it seems practical to
keep the original.

What are your thoughts?

(c)Rob Goldstein 2015-revised 2020

 

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In the South of my Childhood

Trigger Warning: This post describes violence.

CPTSD differs from PTSD in that CPTSD  is the result if multiple episodes
of abuse sustained from months to years.

My dissociative disorder is in part the result of the institutional racism and homophobia of the mid-20th Century.

Emotional development can not happen when the brain constantly thinks the survival of the body is at stake.

As I begin to remember my childhood, I find that I have panic attacks that make it almost impossible for me to move.

As I type this my heart is racing, my skin crawls and I feel as if I am crushed.

It feels like dying.

The details of the memory are out of reach yet they are as vivid as if I am living it.

The South of my childhood was saturated with racism and antisemitism.

“I can buy and sell you,” was a common childhood taunt.

The South of my childhood believed that “intellectuals” and “yankee snobs” were the source of its problems.

Art was for sissies.

Compassion was for Sissies.

Intellect was for sissies.

***

There are therapists who say that severe PTSD is the aftermath of a confrontation with human evil.

M. Scott Peck, the psychiatrist who authored the best-selling self-help book,” The Road Less Traveled, described evil as a form of militant ignorance“.

According to Peck an evil person is consistently self-deceiving, to avoid guilt and to keep up an image of perfection.

They also;

• Deceive others as a consequence of their own self-deception

• Project his or her evils and sins onto very specific targets (scapegoats) while being apparently normal with everyone

• Commonly hates with the pretense of love, for the purposes of self-deception as much as deception of others.

• Abuses political (emotional) power (“the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion”

• Maintains a high level of respectability based on lies.

• Is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterized not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency (of destructiveness)

• Is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoat)

• Have a covert intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury

According to Peck, evil people realize that what they are evil but they can’t tolerate the pain of introspection. They can’t admit that their actions are motivated by evil.

In the South of my childhood the “good people” beat the rest us into our place.

It was a “moral” obligation.

***

On the first day of the first grade, we children were told to open our books.

Each child was asked to read and as the children stumbled through their paragraphs, the teacher corrected them.

I knew how to read because my Grandmother had taught me when I was four.

I read my paragraph with no difficulty.

The other children snickered.

The teacher sneered at me.

She sent a note to my Mother.

It was I had caused problems in class.

My Mother beat me and screamed at me for causing trouble on the very first day of school.

This was the only time my Father ever stepped in.

My Mother was screaming at me to stop crying while she beat me with a belt buckle.

My Father grabbed her arms and asked how she thought I would stop crying while she beat me.

I was frightened and confused.

It would be years before I understood that as a “kike” I had stepped out-of-place.

I had done the unforgivable thing of behaving as if I was better than the “white” kids.

In the South of my Childhood, kikes were not white.

The next morning I walked alone to the bus stop and noticed that a group of parents was there with their children.

At first, I felt safe because I still associated adults with protection.

But they surrounded me and the parents ordered their children to beat the faggot out of me.

One of the parents pulled out a pair of scissors while the other adults held me down.

She was the next door neighbor.

She said that she was going to cut my eyelashes because they were too long and too pretty.

She said that if I moved she would cut out my eyes and it would be my fault.

This was when I discovered that if I left my body I felt no fear or pain.

That was the morning Bobby was born.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015 All Rights Reserved

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